US sales OK'd for cigarette alternative that heats tobacco

U.S. health officials on Tuesday said Philip Morris can sell a cigarette alternative that heats tobacco without burning it, opening the door for the company's effort to shift smokers toward newer products.

Posted: May 1, 2019 9:32 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials on Tuesday said Philip Morris can sell a cigarette alternative that heats tobacco without burning it, opening the door for the company's effort to shift smokers toward newer products.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet decided whether to allow the device, IQOS (EYE-kose), to be advertised as less harmful than cigarettes. A decision on that key marketing pitch could come later this year.

The cigarette alternative is the centerpiece of Philip Morris International's effort to move the shrinking number of U.S. smokers toward other products, including heating and vaping devices.

FDA regulators stressed that IQOS is neither safe nor "FDA approved." But they acknowledged that studies submitted by the company did show IQOS produces fewer toxic byproducts than traditional burning cigarettes.

"All tobacco products are potentially harmful and addictive and those who do not use tobacco products should continue not to," the FDA said in a statement.

Altria, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, will sell IQOS in the U.S. for Philip Morris International. The device will be subject to laws that ban television and radio advertising of cigarettes. The FDA said it will impose extra restrictions on online and social media advertising to discourage use by teenagers.

Philip Morris said in a statement it will comply with FDA restrictions "so that IQOS is reaching the right audience — current adult smokers." The product is already sold in over 40 other countries.

Tobacco control experts have long argued that products like IQOS will only benefit public health if they are solely used by smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit cigarettes.

Eric Lindblom of Georgetown University law school said the FDA could have made more explicit that IQOS is only to be used as a smoking substitute.

"Instead of requiring constructive labeling and preventing harmful advertising, FDA is hoping that Altria and (Philip Morris) will market IQOS responsibly," said Lindblom, who previously worked in FDA's tobacco center.

About 14 percent of U.S. adults smoke despite decades of tax hikes, smoking bans and public health campaigns aimed at reducing the deadly habit. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year.

The battery-powered IQOS heats sticks of tobacco but stops short of burning them, producing a tobacco aerosol that includes nicotine. This is different from e-cigarettes, which don't use tobacco at all but instead vaporize liquid usually containing nicotine. Philip Morris argues its product is closer to the experience of smoking a cigarette and will therefore help more smokers switch.

But the product will come under intense scrutiny from anti-smoking groups and public health advocates amid a recent surge in underage vaping by high school and middle school students.

The American Lung Association said it was "deeply concerned," by the decision and stated: "FDA must take steps to protect youth from beginning a tobacco addiction with this product."

Recently departed FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb spent the last year of his tenure at the agency trying to reverse the trend, while acknowledging that underage vaping could climb even higher.

The company's U.S. partner, Altria, said Tuesday it will begin selling IQOS in Atlanta at a specialty store. The tobacco sticks will be sold at convenience stores and other retailers in the region.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog called the FDA decision a "big win," for the tobacco giants and predicted annual sales of $4.5 billion by 2025.

Philip Morris had hoped to launch IQOS as the first "reduced risk" tobacco product sanctioned by the FDA. But regulators are still reviewing the company's data and proposed claims. Congress gave the FDA the power to regulate key aspects of the tobacco industry in 2009, including designating new tobacco products as "reduced risk."

Last year, a panel of FDA medical and scientific advisers delivered a mostly negative review of IQOS. The panel said the company had not shown that using IQOS reduced the deadly diseases associated with smoking.

An endorsement from the FDA would mark a major milestone in efforts by both the industry and government to provide less harmful tobacco products to smokers who can't or won't quit cigarettes.

Shares of Altria Group Inc. rose 84 cents to $54.35 in trading.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the tobacco sticks sold with IQOS do not carry the Marlboro brand.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

West Lafayette
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
Rensselaer
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Fowler
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Williamsport
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
Delphi
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Monticello
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Logansport
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Warming up with plenty of sunshine!
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events